Stories from Ancient China: From the Perspective of Gods and Buddhas, the Most Important Thing Is One's Heart

In the Shenlong Period (705-707 AD) of Emperor Zhongzong in the Tang Dynasty of ancient China, a Buddha statue was to be constructed in Xiangyang of Hubei Province. Many people who believed in Buddha or Gods donated money for the statue. The coordinator wrote down their names, and planned to have the names engraved on a memorial stone as a record.

There was an elderly woman who was very poor who also wanted to make a donation, but she only had one dime, which had been given to her by her mother before she was married. She had saved the dime for more than 60 years, and that was the only money she had.

Upon hearing that a Buddha statue was to be made, this old woman respectfully carried this dime and walked a long way to donate it. However, the coordinator turned her down saying that a dime could not be accepted since the amount was too small to put on record. The old woman had no choice, but walked towards the crucible where the metal for the Buddha statue was being melted. When nobody was watching her, she threw the dime into the crucible. With respect, she bowed to the crucible, calling the Buddha's name in her heart, and then left.

Several days later, the Buddha statue was completed. When people looked closely, they found that the dime from the old woman was right on the chest of the Buddha statue. After a rich person saw the dime, he felt uncomfortable, and suggested that the dime be removed and so someone cut the dime from the statue.

However, the next day, when people looked at the Buddha statue, they found that the dime was still there. Several monks said, "This is indeed a miracle. From the perspective of Gods and Buddhas, the most important thing is one's heart. Because the heart of the old woman was so sincere, the dime is thus in such a significant place." Since then, nobody dared to try to remove the dime and it remained on the chest of the Buddha statue.

(From Taiping Guangji)

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